As Miley Cyrus says in the song we all love to belt out in the car “ain’t about how fast I get there, ain’t about what’s waiting on the other side, it’s the climb”.
Mountain climbing can teach us a lot about ourselves; our habits, our goals, our strengths and our weaknesses. Both the physical climb and the metaphorical climb can be extremely beneficial to your mental, physical and spiritual health.
Though it may sound tempting to want to skip the climb all together and reach the top as fast as possible, there are important lessons in those peaks and valleys. Each level offers a different perspective and opportunities to grow as you go.
The climb is where you learn how to not have altitude sickness, where you find your bearings and adapt to new surroundings and challenges. The view when you reach the summit means a lot more when you take the time to appreciate each level and what it has to offer.
I wanted to break down for you what I’ve gained and learned from climbing mountains, physically and mentally.
The Physical Climb
Exercising in general can benefit our lives greatly, but there’s something special about rock climbing that really reaches into the soul and awakens the spirit.
Physical mountains have different paths, different levels depending on experience and different views depending on how much effort you put into it.
You’ll learn to face your fears! When you’re up high, scared and depending on others to help you – there’s no time to take a break and think. You rely on the group to keep you safe and they do the same in turn. Sharing an exhilarating and dangerous experience with someone can really solidify a bond for life. There’s a reason that corporate retreats often include some type of adventure scenario, humans thrive and excel on adrenaline!
There’s no place for ego when up on a mountain. Everyone at some point will need help or guidance; even the most experienced climber falls sometimes. Realize that each member on your team is a unique individual with different strengths and weaknesses. Comparing yourself is pointless – go at your own pace and do YOUR personal best. I promise you, your unique view and experiences are a vital part of the journey.
The Metaphorical Climb
The struggles and hurdles I’ve had to overcome in my business and personal life have taught me a lot about purpose, leadership & team building.
These are a few of the most important lessons I’ve learned along the path:
- How to communicate & be stategic
- That you cant help others up if you haven’t seen what is on the journey for yourself.
- The hard climb is rarely crowded so you’ll be more easily noticed and find standing out isn’t that difficult.
- You’ll gain compassion for those who take longer to climb.
- Sometimes you’ll only be able to see the beginning or the end, sometimes both, sometimes neither.
- Even before you’re finished, you’ll be able to look back and see what you’ve accomplished. The perspective of each new height is different and important.
- You’ll realize just how much you DON’T know and feel compelled to continuously keep growing and changing.
- You’ll learn to breathe and take in your surroundings!
- Faster or slower? Doesn’t matter, movement is movement. Every step is one step closer to your goal!
- The climb teaches you how to look for creative problem solving solutions and people management skills you simply could not have learned if you’re dropped up on the mountain top with no experience.
- It teaches you to be gracious with yourself & others, to trust your instincts, to be patient and to be resourceful.
Altitude sickness happens when you ascend too quickly without properly preparing. It can manifest itself in both the physical & the mental climb, but in vastly different ways.
When you are physically climbing a mountain and do too much too fast, symptoms can include headaches, vomiting, tiredness, trouble sleeping, and dizziness.
But when you’re mentally climbing mountains and skip steps or skyrocket right to the top, symptoms can include: no sympathy or patience, forgetting your roots and only caring about yourself.
Both awful and both important to try and avoid! Climbing the mountain keeps you humble and in touch with each step it took to get you where you are.
So, don’t skip the climb…
Do you climb? Are you climbing in business? If so, what lessons have you learned? Don’t forget to return the favor and lend a hand to those behind or beside you in their own journey. I’d love to hear your perspective in the comments, whether they come from the peaks or the valleys!